Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey

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Rating: 4/5

Author: Johanna Lindsey

Genre: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper

Link: Fires of Winter

Pages: 362

The Fires of Winter is a very absorbing, witty and sensual historical romance.

Brenna Carmarham is not some simpering cowering maid, she has been raised by her father as a son. She may be a quarter of the size of a Viking but give her a sword and she might prove a match. Garrick is a Viking merchant who already had his heart broken by a woman. When people with such conflicting and bold personalities are together, sparks are bound to ignite fire.

The squabbles and quarrels between Brenna and Garrick were quite charming and a very mushy read. The sensual scenes were so hot that they could steam the Viking (Norwegian) cold.

The novel is fast paced and has all the elements of a bodice ripper. The heroine gets kidnapped/abducted and eventually falls in love with her captor. But even with a clichéd storyline, the novel is thoroughly entertaining. This has more to do with the writing skills of Johanna Lindsey, who manages to keep the elements of humor, sex, action and adventure, well balanced.

If you turn a blind eye to all the mention of rapes that happen in the background (which are always a major element in bodice rippers), this novel is actually a very romantic read.

By the end, the built up suspense was so high that it was difficult to put the novel down. Even when I thought that there were no new surprises left, Johanna Lindsey managed to throw one or two in the end.

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Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham.

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Rating: 3.5/5

Author: John Grisham

Pages: 344

Link: Rogue Lawyer

I thought I was done with John Grisham after the disastrous debacle that was “Sycamore Row”, but Rogue Lawyer was like a breath of fresh air. It was a typical Grisham novel; gritty, witty and difficult to put down.

Sebastian Rudd is not your typical lawyer; he works from a black mini-van equipped with everything from a mini fridge to wifi. He carries a gun and is always accompanied by a bodyguard. He believes everyone is entitled to a defense and his clients are not always clean and innocent.

Grisham’s new novel was a surprise for me. What I thought was a one big story turned out to be short stories of Sebastian Rudd. It is a collection of cases, where Rudd takes on clients no one else is willing to. The stories are fast paced and as they are short, Grisham made them entertaining as hell.

Like his other novels, the Rogue Lawyer is also a pure legal thriller. The well researched court room antics keeps one thoroughly entertained. Grisham did try to build a bit of family drama around Sebastian Rudd. Rudd’s relationship with his son and his estranged ex wife was explored but I felt it was left hanging at the end. The only thing that I find disappointing was the ending. The stories were good, but there were way too many loose ends, which made the ending a bit abstract. I could only hope this built up was for a sequel.

The rogue lawyer is a very easy breezy read. Some chapters are as small as a single page and almost all the stories have a predictable ending. It is something you can pick when you are in mood for an entertaining light legal thriller.

Ms. Marvel Vol 2: Generation Why

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Rating: 5/5 Author: Willow Wilson Artist: Adrian Alphona Link: Ms. Marvel

This is the first time I find a comic sequel as good as the first one, even better maybe.

Nerdy interests, conservative parents and poly morphing super powers, Kamala Khan sure had an adventurous volume one. And now in this sequel, Ms. Marvel, our very own Jersey City superhero, finally come face to face with the Inventor!

Crocs and Skint!

Ms Marvel gets her shoes dirty as she descents into the sewers of Jersey City and faces the Inventor. What I thought was a chicken at first sight turned out to be a Bird…err…correction, not just any bird but a cockatiel. Inventor may not be the baddest of the super villains we have seen Marvel throw at us, but he sure knows how to create nuisance with his bionic alligators.

But that’s not all in store in the sewers. We have Wolverine!!!

*Such Athletic* *Very Claws* *Much Amaze*

Even though she doesn’t like punching animals, Ms. Marvel and Wolverine team up to fight the bionic alligators. The writing is amusing and the artwork, remarkable. Especially the scene where Ms Marvel and Wolverine are climbing out of the sewer and you can see the dinosaur bones in the background buried in the ground. It is this sort of attention to background details that I find astonishing.

Come here you big fluffy thing!

Just when I thought this issue can’t get any better, enters LockJaw! The cutest and most humongous thing you would have ever seen. Lockjaw like hugs and can teleport.

But things get serious soon enough, as serious as they can get in this funny series. Ms. Marvel must put an end to the bird’s menace, err…I mean Cockatiel’s menace, before he brain washes any more kids into doing his bidding.

The dynamic duo, Wilson and Alphona, have penned another great volume of Ms Marvel. So much is packed in these five issues that collects #6-11, there is humor, action, wolverine, lockjaw, cockatiel villain and new realizations for Ms. Marvel as to who she really is!

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife: A review

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Author: Elizabeth LaBan

Rating: 5/5

Pages: 306

Link: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife

I received a digital copy of this book from Lake Union publishers through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

The restaurant critic’s wife was a sumptuous read flavored with comedy, suspense, drama, indecision and of course, good food.

The book was, in a way, much like a well prepared four course meal. Right from the look and feel of the cover art to the depths of emotional yet funny drama, each chapter felt like peeling a different layer, keeping the taste buds alive.

The restaurant critic’s wife is the tale of Lila Soto, who moves to Philadelphia along with her husband, Sam Soto. Sam is a Restaurant Critic and wants to give this new gig a chance. But Sam’s preoccupation with anonymity takes him to extremes and pushes Lila into a life of solitude. Lila craves for company, her work and a return to semblance of normalcy.

The novel focuses not just on the taxing relationship between a husband and his wife but also tests the waters of motherhood and career.

Elizabeth LaBan has put in a lot of work building the characters, be it Sam, Lila or people from their neighborhood. Every single character is penned to perfection. Lila, a devoted wife, who bends over backwards to support her husband’s dream job and tries her level best to secure his anonymity at the cost of her own social life and job. Sam, a food critic, who believes that everything, including his family’s comfort can be sacrificed for his job.

The book has a pleasing-to-the-palate humor. I admit to laughing out loud at scenes from review dinners. It is the kind of humor that one finds in Wodehouse novels; light and pleasant. Humor that brings a smile on your face throughout the read.

The author penned every scene to its full advantage never once leaving the grounds of reality. The trial and tribulations of a new mother, are shown beautifully. Be it fixing baby seats in car, to visiting aunts, the elements of humor and drama are never under or over done. However I do feel that the author missed one opportunity. Lila has been shown struggling with her kids, getting them dressed, getting them in car seats or getting them to eat properly. It would have been so much fun to see Lila struggling with baby baths too.

The writing is very refined. There are no abrupt breaks and words flow like melted cheese. The story is no doubt beautiful but the writing is what makes this novel a wonderful read.

I like it how the author portrayed the feelings of young child when she had to share the attention with a new born baby in the house. How Hazel (Lila’s daughter) kept saying “There is no baby.”

The story is fast paced. Every single chapter brought some new twist or trouble in the life of Lila. The novel made me laugh and at times, characters like Sam Soto got so high up on my nerves that I wished I could somehow reach inside the novel and punch the guy!

For all those with the love for humor, family, protagonist female character and food, dive right in!

 

 

Timeline by Michael Crichton: A review

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Rating: 4/5

Author: Michael Crichton.

Link: Timeline

Pages: 489

Never judge a book by its cover. Also, never judge one by the plot written at the back. Timeline by Michael Crichton is a time-hop action drama, traversing the present and the fourteenth century medieval past.

History gets opened up to the present as a professor is marooned in the fourteenth century medieval world. His students are swept off to the headquarters of ITC, the multinational organization that made the technology possible. The plan is to send them back in time and rescue the professor, but things go awry the moment they step into the fourteenth century. Wars, torture, death and rape are rampant and the group found itself fighting for survival.

Timeline does not feature your average run-of-the mill time travel. You are not actually travelling back in time, instead you are travelling across multiverse (amongst the multiple parallel universes).

The plot appeared quiet nonsensical at first. An organization develops the technology to time-hop and starts investing in research around historical sites. Their idea is to dig up these historical sites and reconstruct old castles and granaries. What I find ridiculous is that you are sitting on top of the most sensational scientific invention and you decide to use it to create medieval Disneyland and Universal Studios!

But I could not have been more wrong. The book absorbed me right from the beginning, so much so, that by the second half I could not put it down. The writing is remarkable and the subject matter, well researched. The science part of the time-hop is explained brilliantly, giving you the crux of the things without intimidating you into oblivion.

The beginning is a bit slow and the end is way too predictable. However the action starts soon, and once it begins it stays till the very end. Crichton had me sitting at the edge of my seat in the second half of the book. He made the fourteenth century medieval world not only exciting but nail-biting horrifying, making Timeline a true page turner.

My man jeeves by P.G Wodehouse: A review

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Author: P.G. Wodehouse

Pages: 114

Rating: 5/5

Link: My Man Jeeves

The hardest thing to do is to make people laugh. It gets harder when you have to do it on paper instead of television.

P.G Wodehouse is a man who knows that the key to a person’s heart is through his smile.

After much vacillation and in a desperate need to read humor, I picked P.G Wodehouse on a friend’s recommendation. There were so many to choose from but I thought it better to start from the beginning; the first in the series of countless hilarious novels, My Man Jeeves.

Jeeves is a personal gentleman to Bertie Wooster who or either of his friends, often find themselves at the cusp of problematic situations and who better to turn to in such situations than Jeeves.

The rummy thing about jeeves is that he light on his feet. You won’t see him coming, unless you watch him like a hawk. He would materialize like a genie whenever you need him and would fade into the surroundings afterwards.

True to its title, Jeeves is THE MAN, the man you go to for every problem/advice and a man you do not want to cross. Devilishly brainy, Jeeves brilliant ideas at times do not go as planned and bring contingencies that only he is privy too.

The novel is a collection of short stories, half feature Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, while others feature Reggie Pepper as an early Wooster. The stories even after being adapted and refashioned through writing and cinema are still garden-fresh crisp.

To be honest this is not a novel that would make you laugh out loud but it sure will make you happy. I, for one, had a smile plastered on my face through and through.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith: A review

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Author: Robert Galbraith, J.K Rowling

Rating: 4/5

Pages: 489

Link: Career of Evil

The books in this series (Cormoran Strike series) are like an opiate drug, making one addictive, one book at a time. This addiction works so ingeniously that by the time it is done with you, you end up on the street in front of a book store, snorting the old books and waiting for the next one for that high you desperately crave.

The first book in the series, Cuckoo’s Calling, was quite boring and unnecessarily long. But Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K Rowling) gave the readers something to look for; the sensational chemistry between Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. So, eventually one had to go for the second book in the series, Silkworm, which was interesting, fast paced, and continued the enchanting tale of Robin and Strike.

The third book in the series, titled Career of Evil is a thrilling and gripping tale of Robin and Strike standing at crossroads of their professional and personal feelings as Robin’s wedding draws near.

Even though the story is a suspense thriller, for me, it will always be a forbidden love story of a man struggling to keep himself in check from crossing that work boundary and of a woman torn between the admiration towards her boss and endearments towards her fiancé.

As for this novel, the plot is quite interesting. A mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott. She is horrified to discover a woman’s severed leg in the package. Strike can think of four people from his past who could be responsible for this. When the police, as usual, chase the wrong suspect, Strike takes the matter into his own hands as body parts keep on turning up.

As a tale of personal vendetta, this is, by far the most thrilling Cormoran Strike mystery. Continuing the tradition of previous novels, this one too peeks into Strike’s troubled past and goes one step beyond, by revealing a shocking secret from Robin’s past.

This would be the first novel in the series that I would call a page-turner. Even the sheer length of the novel did not discourage me at any point. Often, I found myself awake way past midnight, not able to stop reading further and further. The Matthew-Robin-Strike triangle continues with much ado. Rowling kept the readers hanging by the edge of their seat till the last page with an ending that would either shock you or bring a smile to your face.

I have to admit, that I am hooked to Cromoran Strike series not for the gruesome murders, suspense or investigative work. I am neck deep in the series for the thrill and joy that it brings while reading about the uncharted tribulations of robin and strike and for precisely this reason, I for one is eagerly waiting for the fourth book.

P.S. I wish Rowling would keep the next novel fewer than 400 pages.